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Jandek

Officially, Jandek is not a person. Albums and live performances are credited to “Jandek”, but the man on the album covers and on stage is “a representative from Corwood Industries”. Corwood is the record label; “Jandek” is the musical project. Both are directed by the same individual. The trinity of Jandek, Corwood, and “the representative” is both three and one.

These distinctions became clear only recently, when Corwood started negotiating Jandek performances with promoters. But an early hint was that the first Jandek album was originally credited to “The Units”, a name implying a faceless collective. Even the recent live releases do not credit individual musicians.

The name of the real person behind all this is known (see below). He normally avoids using his name in connection with Corwood or Jandek, but he has never made any great secret of it, either. Written communications from Corwood are signed “Corwood” or not signed at all, and in a further distancing move, he/they normally refer(s) to himself/themselves in writing as “we” — that is, Corwood — rather than “I”.

This leaves the rest of us in a bit of a quandary how to refer to him/them/it — this Jandek thing. It’s most correct to refer to “Corwood” (and “they”), and to “the representative” or “the Corwood rep”. But it’s also still common to just go ahead and refer to Jandek as a person, using “he”. Until a few years ago, nobody knew it was wrong. I still say “Jandek” and “he” on this site sometimes just in order to avoid verbal contortions.

Some aren’t bothered by informally using his real name — including a few of the musicians he has performed with, in their published interviews. Nonetheless, it’s polite for the rest of us to avoid it in most contexts out of respect for Corwood’s apparent wishes.

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